Gene DiGennaro is getting back into coaching baseball.
The 1995 New Castle High graduate was named baseball coach at Laurel High by the district’s school board last night. The vote was 9-0.
“I am humbled and ecstatic to be the next leader of Laurel High baseball,” DiGennaro said after the meeting. “This is a great opportunity for me and I promise to give it my all.”
DeGennaro replaces Todd Fennick, who had a parting of the ways with the team following the 2019 season. The Spartans finished 13-8 and advanced to the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals before winning their first state postseason game in program history against Bishop Guilfoyle, before losing to Seton-LaSalle in the PIAA quarterfinals.
DiGennaro coached at Union High for eight seasons through 2012 and has been idle in the years since with the exception of coaching his daughters in tournament and recreational softball. The East Side resident has been a health and physical education teacher at Union High for the past 17 years.
“When 2012 came and my wife and I were starting a family, I felt it was the right time to step away and give myself a break from coaching,” DiGennaro said. “But I’ve never been far from the game. I’ve watched and studied and am always looking to learn, so it won’t take me long to get back into the swing of things.
“For the past couple of years, I’ve really had the itch to coach at the high school level again,” he added. “I love to compete and teach and share my knowledge and experiences. When this opportunity came up so close to home, I felt like it was the job for me.”
DiGennaro compiled an 83-69 record during his tenure at Union. The Scotties reached the WPIAL playoffs five times and finished 6-7. He played one year of college ball at Pitt before transferring to Slippery Rock, graduating in 2001.
Union won the WPIAL Section 3-A title in 2005, DiGennaro’s first season at the helm. The Scotties finished 20-3 that year, including 14-0 in the section. They lost in the WPIAL semifinals to Carmichaels, but topped California in the consolation game to reach the state playoffs. The Scotties’ deepest trip in the postseason after 2005 under DiGennaro’s direction came in 2008 when they lost in the WPIAL consolation round to Serra Catholic.
DiGennaro and his wife Michele have three children — daughter Mikayla, 9; daughter Ana Lynn, who will be 7 later this month; and son Geno, who is 2, whom Gennaro said is already showing signs that he will be a left-hander.
DiGennaro plans to meet with his new team next week.
“We’ll get fall practices going soon,” he said. “I plan on implementing my goals to put together a highly competitive program for years to come — both on and off the field.”